Letter: Dealing with Iraq

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Sir: Supporters of the air strikes on Iraq who demand that opponents spell out their "alternative" to bombing have missed the point of the whole debate.

First, it is not for the governments of the United States and Britain to decide the best way to "deal with" Saddam Hussein. These governments have not been elected global policemen by the peoples of the world. Their mandate for military action in the Middle East rests solely on imperial presumption.

Second, Iraq is not the only country with the capability of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, nor is it the only country ruled by a repressive dictatorship, nor is it the only country currently in violation of UN resolutions. The very people who now tell us there is no alternative to bombing are the same ones who throw up their hands in impotence when confronted with violations of UN resolutions by Israel in regard to the Palestinians, by UNITA in Angola, and by Indonesia in East Timor.

Third, there is ample reason to believe that the "problem" which we are told we must deal with is in fact a contrived pretext for military action. Former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter has been quoted as saying, "What Richard Butler did last week with the inspections was a set up. ... This was designed to generate a conflict that would justify a bombing."


London N1